How many neg carriers does one really need?
In recent months I have re-built my darkroom, but this one is very much upscale from any previous. I have not had a chance to use it yet as I am in the middle of major home renovations and can not dedicate the time I will want once I get started in there. It is however on my mind constantly and I have a surplus of certain things, but can not pull the trigger of getting rid of any until I get in work mode.
As I have moved to shooting mostly MF & LF (4x5), I decided to set up three enlargers. I really don't know if it will benefit me or not, but as I became a bit of a darkroom hoarder in the process of getting it together, I figure, "Why not?".
I have three Omega D5 chassis;
1- normal height with a Chromatic D color head on it to utilize the filters for B&W as I have no plan to go into color at the time being.
1- XL w/ a Zone VI system
1- XL w/ a Ilford multigrade system
With each, I acquired quite a few negative holders and now have most normal film sizes. Certainly I will like to go back through my older stock of 35mm and make some enlargements, but really don't see the need for 2, if not 3 holders w/ the bulk roll attachments jetting from the side. Plus probably 3,4,5 normal 35mm holders. As for the other sizes I still plan to shoot with, should I keep a negative holder of each size for each enlarger? It really seems excessive to do so. I don't think anyone else will be using the darkroom with me, but then again, maybe a friend here or there might be interested. In my previous job, it was nice to have 2-3 holders for Imacon scans so you could have preloaded negatives when the current one was finished. Does the same theory apply to this? It really doesn't seem so to me, but my mind could be changed. The only need I see is if I plan to do some sort of Jerry Uelsmann type of manipulation work. Which I tend to think is pretty incredible and gave me my initial drive for photography when I was in my early 20's. I have since moved away from that with my drive and foresee a different path in the future. However, I have not had the time nor the access to a darkroom for so many years, that it could be, a passion for the manipulation comes back after spending 8 hours smelling chemicals again. Hard to say, I don't think so, but you never know.
So, I would love to hear the thoughts of the experienced, or new builders of darkrooms. I'm having the same issue with lenses by the way, the Ilford enlarger has a 3 lens turret.
Just to put it out there in case it is needed to know, I am shooting 4x5 via Toyo View, Meridian 45A, Speed Graphic. MF in the form of TLR 6x6, Mini Speed Graphic 6x7,6x8 roll backs and 2 1/4x 3 1/4 sheet, Mamiya 645 and a few odds and in folders I have a plan for.
I have enough enlargers to set up one machine for each format and leave it set. With that I should only need one carrier for each enlarger. However, there are some variables that dictate extra carriers, glass carriers for larger formats, mounted slide carrier for 35mm, negatrans for printing an entire roll without removing the carrier, etc. Then you have to have carriers of different sizes for each machine, in case one of the others goes down and you need to switch over to another one to print something. Bottom line, you cant have enough carriers, or enlargers
I'm sorry to say that I have only have 4 carriers. One for 35mm and three for 120.
-Minolta Color Enlarger II, 6x7
Original metal carriers:
-35mm glassless, full frame and generous
-6x4,5 vertical, glassless, full frame (at least for Mamiya 645 negs)
-6x6 DIY by the previous owner from ?? format carrier, not full frame, DIY yours truly: top & bottom regular LPL glass with about 1/5 mm space between via electrical tape at the edges
-6x7 glass, top AN, full frame, DIY y.t. from a 16mm carrier I didn't need
-6x6 glassless, full frame - DIY y.t., of course
-Fujimoto 450M-C 4x5
-35mm, glassless, full frame but tight
-6x6, glassless, full frame
-6x7, glassless, full frame for Pentax 67 negs
-4x5, glassless, almost full frame (thinking of adding AN+regular glass to this one)
Last edited by darkroom_rookie; 12-03-2010 at 10:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I have not yet had a good chance to inventory all that I have. An Apuger requested a 645 for Omega D and I told them I would look. They would also like a 6x7. As I went in search, I found that I have 2-645 and 3-6x7 in 2 different styles. I'm not sure I can loosen my grip on them just yet. Some look to be just a hair bigger than others and maybe this is the difference in Full Frame or not, in which case I guess I would want to keep one of each at least. I much get a count and full measurements.
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I have two each of 35mm, 6x6, and 6x7 since I shoot these formats. One of each size is filed out for full frame +, which I don't use often, but I like knowing they're there. I also have two 4x5 carriers, one glass, one not. And one 8x10 holder.
I think I have about 50 carriers. But I'm the wrong person to ask since we have 10 enlargers in our basement darkroom. Only 6 of them are set up though.
I also have three enlargers (different ones for each format) as a result of pre-darkroom build hoarding and I have full sets of carriers. But in the end, all I use now is my Durst L1200 and its 4x5 glass carrier for everything. I don't see a need for anything else. Differing opinions are welcome.
"There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri
All I can offer is that if you have suplus I would keep one backup carrier where you have more than one carrier. You never know what might happen but it's good to be prepared and not be down for lack of a part that you once had.
Remember one of Murphies laws. As soon as you get rid of something, you will need it. Jeff, 10 enlargers?! Man, I'm in awe of you.